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Senators Harb, Brazeau given 30 days to repay thousands

Sen. Patrick Brazeau talks to media on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Feb.12, 2013. The RCMP says it is examining Senate expense claims following an independent audit and a critical report from the upper chamber's internal economy committee.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.
Sen. Patrick Brazeau talks to media on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Feb.12, 2013. The RCMP says it is examining Senate expense claims following an independent audit and a critical report from the upper chamber's internal economy committee.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.

OTTAWA – Senators Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb have been asked to repay tens of thousands of dollars in living expenses within 30 days.

The Senate internal economy committee heard Thursday that Brazeau must pay back almost $49,000 within 30 days of May 28.

Harb owes more than $230,000 within 30 days of June 3.

And Sen. Pamela Wallin‘s audit could be ready at the end of July, auditors said.

Officials from Deloitte, speaking at the committee,  also said Wallin’s audit is taking longer than three of her colleagues in the upper chamber because they have to see if all her travel expenses were for Senate business.

The auditors’ mandate was widened to go back all the way to when Wallin was first appointed as a Conservative senator in January 2009. She has since left caucus while her audit is underway.

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Also revealed at the meeting: the $90,000 cheque former Conservative Sen. Duffy used to pay back the Senate was from a Prince Edward Island bank account, with a PEI home address.

On Wednesday, outgoing committee chair Sen. David Tkachuk revealed that former Liberal Sen. Harb owes more than $230,000 to the Senate in living expenses going back seven years.

Harb, whose expenses were previously pitted at $51,000, hired a lawyer and said he’ll fight the order.

Sen. Patrick Brazeau, another former Conservative, has also been ordered to repay nearly $49,000 in expenses. He also disputes the order, saying he met Deloitte’s criteria for a primary residence.

Senators can claim up to $22,000 in annual housing allowances to compensate them for rent or a second home if they live more than 100 kilometres outside of the capital region.

The audit showed Brazeau spent just 10 per cent of his time at his father’s home in Maniwaki, Que., a location he claimed as his primary residence. Instead, Brazeau had been living with his girlfriend just 15 minutes away from Parliament Hill in Gatineau, Que.

Brazeau received $4,000 in legal assistance from the Senate during the time his improper housing allowance claims were being investigated by his peers and external auditors at Deloitte.

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